How do Blogs Impact a Business?

22 01 2005

A comment on a previous post led me to a blog by “Mark” doing an Executive MBA program, and his first post, which asked “Why should I Care about Blogs”  I was going to post in the comments, but this could get long.

Blogs, themselves, are like guns.  They don’t do anything other than the bidding of the person controlling them. 

Blogs affect businesses in 2 different ways.

1) Company employees have blogs. (See MS etc)
2) People blog about a company (reviews/complaints/kudos)

Both of these avenues can be both good and bad for a company.   When you let your staff blog, you have to draw the line to make sure that they aren’t giving out corporate secrets, or disparaging your company in “public“.  Many bloggers start with a small audience of close friends and/or relatives, and then it grows.  When it’s small, it may not seem so bad to complain about an overbearing boss, but as it becomes larger, you might find that it is your boss that’s reading.   There have been a few cases of bloggers being fired for blogging about their work, even when they didn’t mention their work directly.  (Washington DC intern, British Book Store Waterstones, and others (see bottom of page))

Letting your staff blog has the advantage that your company becomes immediately more accessible, and people like that.  It shows that you are willing to let your staff talk DIRECTLY to the public, rather than vetting EVERYTHING they say and do.  It’s good PR.  I know that I feel more comfortable dealing with a company if I know that I am getting some of the straight goods directly from the developers rather than the marketing droids.

The most common blog relating to companies these days is still the individual blogger who uses a product or service and loves it, so writes about it.  Or s/he hates it, and wants to make sure others know it before they make the same “mistake“ in the blogger’s mind.  A smart company keeps alert as to what is being said about it in the blogosphere, either via sites like PubSub, or technorati.  If someone blogs something negative about your product, contact them, and try to make it right.  These little bloggers can carry quite a bit of weight on Google, and nobody like to find their product in Google with “Sucks“ attached to it in the top rank 🙂

Blogs empower joe computer user to speak his mind, and to get information out that isn’t always “sexy“ enough for the mainstream media to cover.  This means that some of it may be wrong.  It usually isn’t vetted as closely as big media, but it’s usually from the heart.  And it’s from the heart where many people decide if they will be using your company or not.

So, Mark….I hope I helped a bit.   As to other sites that talk about this, you might want to try to contact Dave Winer as he really has been the orginal driving force behind the growth of “blogging“.

Anyone else know any sites for Mark?

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